Woody Guthrie Festival Honors Icon's 100th Birthday

Woody Guthrie fans descended on Okemah Friday to listen to folk music and honor the historic icon at the 15th annual Woody Guthrie Festival. The event falls on what would have been Guthrie's 100th birthday Saturday.

Organizers expect between 3,000 and 5,000 people will attend the free event through Sunday.

Guthrie's younger sister, Mary Jo Guthrie Edgmon, visited with festival-goers at the Historical Society. She signed copies of her new book, "Woody's Road," in front of a replica of their childhood home built with the same wood as the original house.

Edgmon said she is thrilled to celebrate Woody in their hometown. "There's just no words for it, really. Woody is from where he belongs."

One band performing attributed much of its success to Guthrie's influence.

"It's funny. When we play, people will say, 'Oh, you're from Oklahoma. We can tell.' And sometimes I'll say, 'Oh, what do you mean by that?' And they'll say the emotion or the heartfelt music or the simplicity of the music. And honestly, that all goes back to the Woody Guthrie legacy. His music was about simplicity," said musician Lauren Lee.

The event is free to the public.

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